Awards aren’t everything, but recognition is nice

Image by analogicus from Pixabay

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) annual awards shortlisting has been revealed, with 205 finalists across 23 categories ranging from Acute Trust of the Year, Mental Health Trust of the Year, Driving Efficiency, Innovation, Communications, Patient Safety, Partnerships, Staff Engagement, Workforce Initiative, System Led Support for Carers, Race Equality and others.  Having taken a quick glance through the finalists for each category, my Trust is not mentioned once.  Now, I don’t know whether we applied for any of the categories and were unsuccessful at being shortlisted, or whether we didn’t bother applying in the first place.  We are not very good as an organisation at shouting about what we are good at.

The awards are for recognising how the health and social care sector continues to innovate and push forward inspiring projects, driving quality improvement and healthcare excellence. And finalists were selected according to a criteria of ambition, visionary spirit and a demonstrable positive impact on staff experience and patient care.  I’m sure there must have been some of that going on here over the last year.

But why do people, or organisations not put themselves forward for awards?  Is it because they feel embarrassed, or not worthy, or don’t feel they have done anything that warrants attention?  Are they being overly modest?  Did they think someone else would nominate them?

I do recall a situation a few years ago when a senior colleague won an award for Manager of the Year.  I can’t recall whether it was HSJ or some other organisation but it was quite a high profile awards ceremony in the healthcare world.  What was interesting though is how the award came about.  This particular individual told her subordinates to nominate her for the award.  She insisted on reading the nominations before they were submitted and edited several of them.  She won, and I wouldn’t presume to judge whether or not she was in fact the best nominee.  But was it a hollow victory based on telling people to nominate her, then essentially writing the nominations herself? 

Winning an award or getting a certificate is not the be all and end all.  Getting some form of recognition occasionally for a job well done is beneficial for a variety of reasons according to

  1. Being shortlisted or winning can boost organisational awareness and promote your business or organisation to new areas.  It’s like seeing a film where the stars names include whether they are an Academy Award Winner or Nominee, somehow it gives you a sense the films must be good then. It’s essentially free marketing.
  2. Going through the nomination process can allow you to take a good look at yourself/organisation through the lens of others. Do you match up to the criteria, where do you compare, how do you stand out?
  3. It can provide endorsement.  The winner or runner up obtains credibility, sending out positive vibes.
  4. Awards should recognise the contribution of the many, not just the few.  Behind every award winner is a team of people who have helped, supported, done a lot of the ground work which has enabled them to succeed.  It can be a great motivator for the whole team, if they are recongised as part of the award win.
  5. It can attract and retain talent. People want to work with other people or organisations who inspire, push the boundaries, make a difference.

Whether an organisation enters local, national or international awards, simply entering can boost morale.  It’s not always the winning that counts, but the taking part.  I hope next year our Trust may at least enter a race or two.


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